Monday, December 21, 2009

Me and Orson Welles - Movie Review

We chose to skip the opening weekend of that little movie no one's heard of called Avatar (Sorry, no link. As if that site isn't getting enough hits already.) so instead we caught another movie no one's heard of, Me and Orson Welles, a delightful little movie about, well, me and Orson Welles. I mean, not me but the me of the film. The point of view character. Zack Efron. (Oh boy, I'll get a lot of page views now!) Him and Orson Welles. A period piece? New York in the 30s? We are so there!

Directed with a light hand, we follow along as Efron's character gets swept up in the production of Welles' Mercury Theatre's premier production of Julius Caesar and, like everyone in Welles' orbit, he's soon overwhelmed by the demands of the man's genius. It's a fun look at how a play is produced and rehearsed and finally put on, despite the insurmountable obstacles and what may or may not be true glimpse of the genius Welles at work. Welles really did produce Caesar in the style shown to great critical and popular acclaim but the movie is based on a fictional book so who knows how much of the details are true? Who cares? It feels true enough. If want facts, though, I'll go see a documentary.

I was disappointed, though ,to learn that what I was convinced were actual location shots were done elsewhere or on stages; the only actual New York City scenes are actually green-screened pictures of New York. No matter. We were transported and the illusion was complete.

Efron was surprisingly good. He doesn't let his pretty boy looks get in the way of his naive character and the rest of the supporting cast does very well, too, especially the actor playing Welles. The play finally gets put on, Efron falls in love, and the story ends as it should. What's not to like? Very well done.

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